Glasgow CEO appointed

GFF co-director Allison Gardner takes on additional role

by Amber Wilkinson

Festival directors Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter with George the Ambassadog on the Isle Of Dogs red carpet in 2018
Festival directors Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter with George the Ambassadog on the Isle Of Dogs red carpet in 2018 Photo: Eoin Carey
Glasgow Film has announced it has appointed Allison Gardner in the role of CEO, following Jaki McDougall’s decision to step down after 20 years at the helm.

Gardner will start her new role with the educational charity – which runs Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Youth Film Festival – from next April. She is currently GFT programme director as well as the co-director of GFF, having first joined Glasgow Film back in 1993 as a cinema duty manager. She will retain artist direction for Glasgow Film as part of her role.

Among the innovations Glasgow Film has achieved with McDougall at the helm, included the first autism friendly screenings in Scotland and the GFT was also the first cinema to regularly screen film with audio description. Other moves for more inclusive cinema, include family friendly and dementia friendly events.

McDougall said: “The whole team at Glasgow Film - GFT and the Film Festival are delighted that Allison will be taking over the reins in April. I’ve known Allison since we both started out as cinema managers in Edinburgh. We eventually got to work together at Glasgow Film where we’ve had some challenging times but also joyous moments – highlights of my cinema career, that we shared.”

Gardner added: “I have worked alongside Jaki McDougall for over 20 years. In that period, I have helped her to grow our business, through our building development, starting Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Youth Film Festival, and ensuring that we are an organisation that is welcoming and built on inclusion and equality of access and opportunity. Jaki is the embodiment of ‘Cinema for All’.

“She is a mentor, colleague, friend and co-creator, we have worked hard together and spent many hours arguing over films. Glasgow Film would not be the brilliant institution it is today if not for Jaki’s passion for the sector and drive to make us all do our very best.”

Denise Mina, Chair of Glasgow Film’s Board of Trustees, said: “The Board are delighted that, after an open and extensive interview process, Allison Gardner has been appointed to the position of CEO of Glasgow Film. Jaki McDougall leaving after a long and successful run in the position is a loss but Allison’s energy, originality and encyclopaedic knowledge of film will bring us into a new era in the GFT.”

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